WDFW announces additional halibut fishing days; seeks input on 2023 season

Fishery managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced that halibut anglers will have several extra days to reel in halibut this season as well as two upcoming opportunities to help shape the 2023 season.

“Weather this spring was consistently poor so there’s enough sport allocation to support this additional opportunity for anglers in all marine areas,” said Lorna Wargo, WDFW intergovernmental fisheries policy coordinator.

Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) and Westport-Ocean Shores (Marine Area 2) areas will open to all-depth halibut fishing for three additional days in August and three days in September including the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. 

Open dates are:  

  • Friday, August 19
  • Thursday, August 25
  • Sunday, August 28
  • Saturday, September 3
  • Sunday, September 4 
  • Friday, September 23 

The halibut season for the Neah Bay and La Push (Marine Areas 3 and 4) will open on Thursday, August 11, five days per week, Thursday through Monday. Starting September 6, the Neah Bay and La Push will be open seven days per week. 

Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5 – 10) will reopen on Thursday, August 11, seven days per week. Halibut is quota-managed and the season runs through September 30 or when the quota is taken.

WDFW will host two virtual public meetings, slated for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., on Tuesday, August 9 and Tuesday, Oct. 4 to discuss season structure and proposed dates for the 2023 sport halibut season. 

These meetings are intended to help WDFW fishery managers gather stakeholder input prior to Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meetings in September and November, when the Council will consider changes to season structure.

“As we wrap up this year’s season, these meetings are a good opportunity to hear from the public on how this year’s fishery went and how we might adjust in the upcoming year,” Wargo said.

At the August 9 meeting, state halibut managers will review preliminary 2022 season data and work with stakeholders to develop a range of preliminary options focused on general concepts, such as ways to extend the season length and maximize fishing opportunity. 

At the Oct. 4 meeting, in addition to refining the options developed at the first meeting, WDFW staff will collect further public input, review tide calendars for next spring and select specific season dates that attempt to balance needs across various fishing communities and charter and private fishing interests.

For more information about how to participate in the August 9 and October 4 Zoom webinars, visit wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut.

The meetings will be recorded and posted online so people can also watch the meetings afterwards at their convenience.

For more information on the halibut season-setting process visit PFMC’s website at pcouncil.org/pacific-halibut/background-information/.

“Because halibut fisheries are managed to a quota, closures can happen quickly.”

Anglers should check the WDFW website or Fish Washington App to ensure a specific area is open prior to fishing.

Complete information on recreational halibut regulations and seasons is available online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut.

Anglers must record their catch on a WDFW halibut catch record card.